You Look Good For Your Age

One of my 23 year old grad school classmates recently told me that I looked good for my age. 

My Age.

I’ve been receiving this “compliment” more and more lately.  It’s a comment that immediately points to the fact that the person was expecting that by “your age” one might look haggardly or scoundrel-like.  Well…surprise, surprise 🙂

What’s so interesting is that I clearly remember being 23 and feeling as if 29 and 30 were light years away.  I imagined that by 30, I would “look 30”.  I never thought much about what “looking 30” meant, I just felt that because it was SO far away I would have to reason that I would look different. 

When I think back to how I perceived age in my late teens and early twenties, I can say that my definition of what age would look like, was directly correlated to my expectation of what a certain age would bring….and why wouldn’t it be that way?  That is the way it had always worked…when I was 14, I knew what 16 would look like because I would finally be driving; when I was 16 I knew what 18 would look like because I would be on my way to Hampton; and when I was 19 I knew what 21 would look like because I would have the freedom to order myself a cocktail, and the excitement of graduating from college and going into the real-world to make a way for myself. 

If you have tangible milestones attached to specific ages (as we do when we are younger) then it is easy to perceive age by the expectation of achieving that milestone.  However, once we get into the real world – nothing is written – age doesn’t look like anything; age becomes what we make it. 

It’s absolutely amazing how we spend our early years wanting to speed up time in order to reach 16, 18, and 21 – only to reach our mid-20’s and realize that we’d like to pump the breaks.  It’s not that we are looking to go back in time – but I think we suddenly realize that instead of reaching the next age, or finding the next thing, we should figure out ways to soak up the ‘here and now’.   

DS Download:  Until we start seeing the physical effects of age on our faces or in our bodies, I believe that our definition of age should be about managing our expectations, and negotiating an agreement between ourselves and the universe (or your god) a set of principles about who we are, and what we’re going to work to be in this lifetime.

….all of that lofty speak aside – I am marveling at the small changes that my friends and I have been noticing in our 29 – going on 30 year old bodies…all of a sudden after two drinks we feel that the third may put us into frank the tank mode (or is that just me?), or require a full day of recovery time; we’ve elected to listen to NPR or WTOP over the local R&B stations; we’re ordering egg-white omelets, and choosing turkey bacon over pork sausage links to protect our health.  Goodness!  Perhaps our 30’s will also be about being more conscious of all of our decisions. 

They say that youth is wasted on the young but I don’t believe that.  I distinctly remember being young and living the hell out of life.  I don’t remember me or my friends wasting anything.  Youth is merely a description of being young, it is not wasted, it is a given – unless we have the mysterious case of Benjamin Button, we will all start off being young

My focus nowadays is not so much on youthfulness, but on working everyday to be grateful…grateful that I had my youth to explore and learn who I was, and grateful that I have my adult years to spend time perfecting and learning who I am supposed to be.

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6 thoughts on “You Look Good For Your Age

  1. I think this is one of my favorite blogs that you have written. I actually take ” you look good for your age” as a compliment because i see some people out in public that i know are younger than me but yet they look older than i am…..that isnt a good look.

    I do agree that in general age does have a timeline that you can attach to certains years in your like, like you said at 16 you get your driver’s license.

    Well at least we have each other to “age” with, we have already “aged” together for 12 years and we still got it. !!!

  2. Ms. Ricks,

    This is your best post yet. Maybe its because I just turned 33 last month. I remember being a Freshman at Hampton and talking with the SGA president twds the end of the school year. He was about a month away from graduation and in the process of talking about his plans after college, I asked him how old he was. He said 21. I said “Man you are old!” The conversation ended about 20 seconds after that comment. I remember the look on his face that said “WTF!”

    To be honest I want to go back to age 27. But I am grateful to be alive and well in my 30s.

  3. WOW – All that came from a very singular compliment. “You look good…for you age.” I’m curious, did you thank him? How did you respond?

    You’re right, though. We seem to itemize age into the various stages we anticipate our lives to be in by what the activities of others around us are at that age. Very deep…I like that!

    For what it’s worth, though, you do look good. You really don’t look much different from when I first met you…you haven’t even gained weight, at least as far as I can tell. Not that there’s ANYTHING wrong with a woman’s body maturing…but yours hasn’t 😉

    Personally, what is amazing to me is that at, 29, I still share many of the same interests I did when I was 16, 18 and 21. Not to say I haven’t matured, because I have. However, I truly do not feel old. I have younger people telling me all the time I’m getting old, and family and other friends hinting that I should be married and working on children. Are any of you guys getting that? Just the same, I still feel VERY young and very Blessed. I’ve grown out of many of the things I once prioritized with much greater urgency than I do now, but part of the excitement of life is the anticipation of what’s next! And I’m thoroughly looking forward to all of it…even dirty diapers!

  4. I appreciate your post very much. I am a documentary filmmaker and photographer currently working on a film about women over 35… and from what I have filmed thus far, the term “you look good for your age” is actually quite derogatory. i mean, how many men hear that statement? does george clooney hear “you look good, for your age?” i doubt it. he just ‘looks good’, and the same comment should be said of women, at any age, who just ‘looks good’! i am 44 and proud to be this age. i am proud to ‘look’ this age, to redefine beauty at this age, to tell the world that each as can be amazing if we stop trying to be a different age. when we do that, we stop appreciating the amazing potential of each and every moment. beauty is about confidence, taking care of ourselves and never losing our youthful curiosity for learning and life. it is not about ‘age’.

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